2010 SPMH Annual Meeting
Nearly 275 people attended the 2010 SPMH Annual Meeting, which was held Monday, September 20, 2010, in the Music Hall Ballroom. President Don Siekmann conducted the meeting, during which there were several key announcements:
> a new SPMH logo
> a new website design and web address. You're on that website right now!
An invitation was issued to everyone attending to write down their favorite memories of Cincinnati Music Hall -- events or performances, or even a special personal moment they can share that gives Music Hall a special place in that person's life or heart. These memories will be featured in upcoming issues of Music Hall Marks, the SPMH newsletter, and on this website.
Siekmann also singled out six individuals who were attending the meeting and who were part of the small group that started SPMH in 1992: Joyce Van Wye, Norma Petersen, Louise Nippert, Barbara Boyd, Linda Siekmann, and Patrick Korb.
The meeting's keynote speaker was Duncan Hazard, founding partner and Management Principal, Ennead Architects of New York. In his introduction of Hazard, Jack Rouse, head of the Music Hall Revitalization Committee (MHRC), set the tone by reminding the audience that Hazard's talk was not by any means the final decision for the revitalization of Music Hall but an update of the first three months of work by "a world-class team" which included Ennead.
Rouse added that the revitalization would embrace all the vital elements of Music Hall, including the context in which the building exists, across from Washington Park, as a vital structure in Over-the-Rhine, and as an historic yet key arts structure in Cincinnati.
Rouse said he anticipates that, by November, they'll have cost estimates for elements seen as desirable for the revitalization and that they will simultaneously look at the feasibility of raising the fund necessary to undertake such a monumental yet necessary task.
In his presentation, Duncan Hazard explained his company and showed some of the work they've done with other theatres, primarily pointing to elements that would be similar to those seen as important for Music Hall. He described what he and his team see as key "themes" of the existing structure: vibrancy, richly decorated, celebratory, crossroads, busy, lots of windows."
Hazard reviewed some of the history of Music Hall, how it was first laid out -- a center building with a nearly-flat main hall, followed by the introduction of a temporary proscenium in 1881. And in 1896, Samuel Hannaford, the structure's original architect, was hired to design and build a permanent proscenium in 1896.
The key issues, as seen by the revitalization committee, include:
- return the first floor to public use
- maximize the flexibility for the future for all constituents
To address those and other issues detailed by Hazard, the team would like to create a public space along the entire front of Music Hall -- across the front of the main building and the wings. This area would include shops, cafes and bars, and a patron's lounge. They also propose to open up the area behind the Rose Window to make better use of that space, and move Corbett Tower up a floor to allow for that area to open as a lobby for the gallery.
In introducing another concept, Hazard showed the audience an image that excited everyone -- opening up the many windows around the hall that have been bricked up at various points in the hall's renovation history. The picture was that of Music Hall at dusk, with light coming from every part of the building as it did at one time in that past, giving it an almost ethereal glow.
All of this, said Hazard, is geared toward reinforcing Music Hall as a world class performing arts center, making it as welcoming as it was when it was built.
And these plans are in line with Reuben Springer's vision and intentions for Music Hall. In a letter written in May 1875 titled ''Some views about a Music Hall Building'' Springer wrote that (the building) "will be owned by the city, and will be used solely in the interests of the people, and for the public good." He added that charge for the use of the hall should be "as low as possible"
The theme of a building belonging to the people was echoed in remarks made by Julius Dexter in his grand opening tribute to Reuben Springer: "Other persons have given as much; in proportion to their means, more. Who can say that the contribution of a colored barber, or of the hard-working mechanic of a rolling mill, is not the equal in liberality with any thousand dollars or even the largest sum given."